the tattoo, the word, my hypocrisy

There is something about tattooing something onto your body one week before your 30th birthday – your last week of excused recklessness  – that is VERY satisfying. Like, OK, PEOPLE, I’m moving on, YES I will be 30, but I’m going to seal this decade with one final act, OK? I’m going to the nearest tattoo parlor in the middle of a workday, by myself, and will leave with a tattoo – no excuses. I’m doing it. So I did it. By myself. To the nearest place. Two authentic-looking, large male tattoo artists greeted me and I showed them my design that I had sketched out. Unfortunately my original plan was to get it on my wrist, but when they showed me how large it had to be in order to read THE WORD (2x my original size), I said… ummm…no. I’m not that committal. So, let’s try it on the back of my neck… Um, no – my dad will KILL me. Sooo, third time’s a charm! …let’s just throw it on the middle of my lower back – because, hey, everyone knows that’s the spot that accrues the least amount of aging effects. I said “just do it. I’m not leaving here without it.” and that was that. done. tattoo checked off my list at 29 yrs, 11 months, 3 weeks.

The “selah dove” design I created. Photo quite a bit blurry, but wanted to give the effect as this was obviously taken right after I got it.

I pondered A LOT about this word – this word and the graphic that would become my tattoo. It is a word that for some reason always intrigued me. NOT because I actually DID what it means, but I always felt like I should. I always thought, “Now, isn’t that a nice concept? I should do that.” It is a word many have seen all over the Psalms, but may not have really looked at and discovered it’s meaning. It is a beautiful word, rolls off the tongue, and the meaning makes it even richer. It is “Selah.”

Positioned strategically after many of the Psalms, Selah means “stop and listen” or “pause and reflect.” This word was almost like the definition of HYPOCRITE for me at that time in my life. Yes, during the time I went and tattooed it on myself, I wouldn’t say I was “stopping and listening / or pausing and reflecting” to a greater power’s true voice.

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I was working two full time jobs (one as Art Director at the University of Pittsburgh and the other running my graphic design business). I was not taking great care of myself and was still pining day in and day out with my husband for the mountain home and friends and activities we left out west (not being present). I would work late into the night and get up and commute to the city on a bus, would rarely see my husband as he was in nursing school and working part time, and overall neither of us were “pausing and reflecting” or “stopping to listen” a greater power’s voice.

BUT, this commitment to this word – the tattooing of it onto myself – provided a striving for the meaning of it – if anything. This finally played a role bigger than ever and more tangible than ever several years later. READ ABOUT FINALLY PRACTICING SELAH.


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